Matera

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Is a city in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina River. Known as la città sotterranea (“the underground city”), its historical centre “Sassi” contains ancient cave dwellings. The exact date when these were first occupied, and the continuity of subsequent occupation, are questions that cholars still debate. Sassi, along with the park of the Rupestrian Churches, was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1993.

Matera is one of the 2019 European Capitals of Culture, together with the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv.

Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the “Sassi di Matera”. The Sassi originated in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, and these dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy. The Sassi are habitations dug into the calcareous rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Apulia. Many of them are really little more than small caverns, and in some parts of the Sassi a street lies on top of another group of dwellings. The ancient town grew up on one slope of the rocky ravine created by a river that is now a small stream, and this ravine is known locally as “la Gravina”. In the 1950s, as part of a policy to clear the extreme poverty of the Sassi, the government of Italy used force to relocate most of the population of the Sassi to new public housing in the developing modern city. Until the late 1980s the Sassi was still considered an area of poverty, since its dwellings were, and in most cases still are, uninhabitable and dangerous. The present local administration, however, has become more tourism-orientated, and it has promoted the regeneration of the Sassi as a picturesque touristic attraction with the aid of the Italian government, UNESCO, and Hollywood. Today there are many thriving businesses, pubs and hotels there, and the city is amongst the fastest growing in southern Italy. Wikipedia

Video 1 – Via Alessandro Volta to Gradoni Municipio
Approximately 1.09 km – 0.68 miles

The walk starts in Via Alessandro Volta – Chiesa del Purgatorio, Via Domenico Ridola – Via Domenico Ridola – Piazzetta Pascoli – Via Bruno Buozzi – Piazza S. Pietro Caveoso -Chiesa di San Pietro Caveoso, Piazza S. Pietro Caveoso – Vico Solitario – Piazza S. Pietro Caveoso – Via Bruno Buozzi – Sassi di Matera – Via Bruno Buozzi – Via S. Pietro Caveoso – Gradoni Municipio

Video 2 – Piazza del Sedile to Piazza S. Francesco
Approximately 0.70 km – 0.44 miles

The walk starts in Piazza del Sedile – Via Duomo – Piazza Duomo – Via Duomo – Via delle Beccherie – Via del Corso – Piazza Vittorio Veneto – Via Luigi Lavista – Via Ascanio Persio – Piazza Vittorio Veneto – Via del Corso – Piazza S. Francesco